ART – staged : No Booth

Richard Koh Fine Art (RKFA) is pleased to showcase a group presentation by Anne Samat, Anton del Castillo, Eiffel Chong, Jason Wee, Minstrel Kuik, Nadiah Bamadhaj, Nopchai Ungkavatanapong, Sareth Svay & Trong Gia Nguyen. The artists will be showing recent works in a variety of media, ranging from wall-bound mixed media & fiberglass works, water colour works on paper and installation of readymade objects.

This presentation aims to chart the position of Southeast Asian Contemporary art within the region’s entanglement of powerplay and political/ cultural hegemony. The artworks spanning from Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand hint at unseen power structures that oscillate between myth and reality.

In Anne Samat’s latest Ulek Mayang series, the artist investigates the mythology of the Ulek Mayang dance before the Islamization movement of recent decades. Through the works, lore and myth are re-examined, questioning its undertones of morality in today’s context.

Trong Gia Nguyen’s series of “shattered’ mirrors incorporate quizzical texts that loosely explore the notion of being a “banana,” a term used playfully and in the pejorative that refers to an Asian person who is more Western in nature and who has lost touch with the cultural identity of his or her parents. In this series, notions of cultural hegemony is confronted through wordplay and subtle signifiers.

In Minstrel Kuik latest ‘flag’ series, Kuik investigates power structures by examining ready-made electoral paraphernalia from her country in the attempt to understand the logic behind the representative system of democracy in today’s modern society. She endeavours this by folding different movements, layering, intertwining, challenging the material in which opens up new and undefined spaces. By doing so, Kuik allows the preconceived idea being challenged by the inner logic of the plastic form and in which she believes; creates a new vantage point for the mind.

The effects of Western altruism is distinct in Nopchai Ungkavatanapong new installation from his ‘readymade’ series, comprising of stacked electric rice cookers and round fluorescent tubes. Ungkavatanapong practice is considered a critical understanding of post-war consumerist culture in Thailand and its effects on economic and cultural progress. Mundane everyday consumerist products are often the centre of investigation and treated as totems of unfounded faith.

In Sareth Svay new work, he critiques the systems of governance, and more specifically, the voting process in Cambodia. In the work, the index finger is blackened with indelible ink, referencing Cambodia’s highly controversial voting process. The artwork began as a series of corporeal fragments classified in their titles for mythical characters and body parts. Its fragmented state alludes to war torn scenes and the black market trade of Khmer stone ruins. The camouflage skin and ornamental stitching highlight traditions that idealize power.

In a spectacular relief sculpture, Anton del Castillo reminds audience the providence of mankind that is plagued by war and strife. In his latest work, Castillo appropriates a seemingly byzantine style, depicting an orgy of bodies tussling in an apocalyptic haze. He depicts man and beast intertwined, highlighting the duality of man as human and beast.

Taking a more introspective stance, Singapore artist Jason Wee considers queer futures, the creatures – human, nonhuman, almost human who live in it, the cities and spaces, its maps and masterplans, its times and affect. Wee takes cues from the earliest depiction of humanoids in cave drawings and myths of the Malayan were-tiger, the half-human Hantus, as well as medieval European portrayals of the Rapture, which depicts humanity as man-beasts. Wee translate this into a lush single-colour painting washed with melancholy.

A sense of urgency is inherent in Nadiah Bamadhaj’s new set of drawings and stands as a reminder of the unseen abuse cast upon marginalized communities by religiopolitical powerplay. The vividness of emotions is hauntingly captured by Bamadhaj as the works are frequently reflective of her personal interaction within these communities.

These works come together to reveal a network of power structures that are currently inherent within the region. As the #MeToo movement takes solid shape in the West, these works serve as a reminder of the region’s disparate yet familiar voices, yearning to unite under a single banner of change.


  ART – staged : No Booth

ART – staged : No Booth

25 - 27 January 2019

Richard Koh Fine Art
Blk 47 Malan Road,
#01-26 Gillman Barracks,
Singapore 109444

10am - 7pm

Jason Wee
Nopchai Ungkavatanapong
Sareth Svay
Anton del Castillo